Foxconn has cracked a deal with Apple to produce AirPods in India. The news comes after it was rumored that Apple will start manufacturing AirPods and Beats in India.
This will be the first time that AirPods will be manufactured in a country outside China. Foxconn is investing $200 million in a new factory in the state of Telangana, India, to manufacture the wireless earbuds. The facility is expected to start construction in the second half of 2023 and begin production by the end of 2024 at the earliest.
The decision to produce AirPods in India is part of Apple’s efforts to diversify its supply chain away from China. Apple’s dependence on China has become increasingly precarious due to the US-China trade war, repeated COVID-19 lockdowns, and others. Apple has accelerated its plans for supply chain diversification to reduce its dependence on China and to mitigate risks associated with geopolitical events.
Foxconn officials reportedly debated internally for months about whether to assemble AirPods, given the relatively low-profit margins, but ultimately decided to go ahead with the deal to “reinforce engagement” with Apple. The decision to set up production in India was requested by Apple, highlighting the company’s commitment to diversifying its supply chain.
It is not clear which model of AirPods will be produced at the Telangana facility, but there is a high chance they will include a USB-C connector instead of a Lightning connector. The move by Foxiconn is also expected to create job opportunities, and could also result in AirPods prices going down in India.